Moonlit Unicorn is a painting that I started prior to Christmas. Our daughter flew home from NYC on the 18th and brought the flu with her. She got home and went straight to bed for a few days, once she was on the mend, I caught it. Needless to say our Christmas holidays were a bit subdued. We are all feeling better now, she’s out and about with friends and I have finally completed this painting.
I chose to paint a unicorn night scene because I was still thinking about the magical time of the early days of December. Years ago when my twin sister and I were sent to bed, some times our oldest sister would sneak into our room and tell us tales that she made up. I have fond memories of her stories.
When my girl was very young, around two or three at bed time I began making up stories of Grace, a loving white unicorn who would come to visit her. Our first home in Atlanta had a big wooded back yard that sloped down to a creek. It was beautiful. My husband put up a swing set and our girl loved swinging and playing there.
In the stories, Grace would always appear from the woods in our backyard as our girl was swinging. She would take her up on her back and fly her off on adventures. Who knows, maybe that’s one reason why my daughter has such an adventurous spirit.
Bonfire is my most recent painting. I had been thinking about the fire element in the last few weeks. On Valentine’s Day when the news links about the Parkland High School shooting began to appear, I found myself feeling very sad and angry on the special day marked for love. As usual the politicians offered thoughts and prayers, while acting as if nothing can be done about this continuing problem. Remarkably over the next few days, as I looked at the various social media sites, I could sense a shift. The teens and their parents were acting on their grief and anger to take back their power and those of us on the sidelines were adding to this energy of change that is starting to happen.
When my daughter was a senior in high school, there was an incident were a student skipped class and stole a cache of guns and ammunition from a home in an adjacent neighborhood. As the information about a lockdown came through, we began to hear sirens and helicopters overhead. At that point we were not sure if there was an active shooter in the school, it was frightening. The police handled the the situation and all ended well after several hours with no shooting. When my girl graduated I was relieved that that worry for her was over, even though she heading to New York City for college! I feel for all the moms and dads and children that still have that fear that it could happen one day at their school.
Each of us has an inner fire that we can call upon for standing up for what we feel is right. Traditionally the fire element represents action, power, passion, and creativity. In medieval times salamander nature spirits were thought to provide the spark for starting the fire. When looking into a fire and seeing all the movement of the colors, it’s easy to see why they thought of salamanders. I decided to add them to the fire.
It is inspiring to see these teens coming together and owning their power encouraging us to do the same and it will bring about positive change. This Bonfire is for them!
The Jaguar is a new painting for my rainforest series. Jaguars are the largest cats native to the Americas and third largest cats in the world behind lions and tigers. The jaguar once roamed from Argentina all the way up to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Today, jaguars have been almost completely eliminated from the United States. This endangered cat hangs on in remote regions of Central America and South America. My niece spent time in Costa Rica on a college research trip and was fortunate to see a black jaguar in the dead of night.
Jaguar is a Native American word meaning, “he who kills with one blow.” In pre-Columbian America the jaguar was seen as a god in Peru, Mexico, and Guatemala. The Mayans saw him as the god of the underworld.
The idea for this painting came to me a couple weeks ago. My daughter is spending a semester abroad in Prague, and has taken advantage of her free time traveling to many exciting places, She’s been to Paris, Rome, Naples and now, Vienna and is having a great time on her adventures. We are excited for her because she’s broadening her horizons by learning about and experiencing other cultures. It’s brought back to mind wonderful memories of my travels. One of those memories was a trip with my husband down to the Oaxaca, Mexico region. In a small arts village, I bought him a bright hand painted and carved, wooden jaguar that he keeps in his office for good luck. This jaguar painting is also for my husband and a reminder of our happy memories of Mexico.
Darkest Before Dawn is my new painting. Each year around the International Day of Peace I like to paint a dove of peace. I’m a little behind the curve as the date was on September 21st but better late than never. I decided to paint a dove flying at night as lately it seems that there is a continuous stream of bad news in regards to world and national events. It is my feeling that the negativity that we are seeing and that many are experiencing will pass sooner rather than later and that actually many positive things are happening under the radar of the sensational news.
With the new season I seem to be settling down and better able to focus on painting which feels good. May this new season bring with it more hope and peace to everyone.
I had fun with this painting and I got a kick out of titling it Pig and Roses, a take off of the band, Guns and Roses. It makes me laugh every time I see the title. My husband and I have inside joke about pigs so over the years we’ve accumulated somewhat of a pig collection. This angel pig is painted from a small concrete pig that I picked up at Pier One. I love his happy expression and have painted him in many directions.
The roses are decorative touch that I sometimes add to my paintings. It is a wink to my earlier work as a papiermache artist where I made brightly colored papier mache bowls onto which I painted decorative elements. The rosebowl design pictured below was very popular. I think people liked the old fashion quality of them. I added roses to the painting as roses symbolize love that this happy angel pig feels.